Fascinating music

A cultural exchange of fashion and music


In today’s times and times, fashion dominates the world and controls not only the way people dress, but also trends in homeware design, makeup fashion and their general attitudes. Fashion is not just a way to dress your body, it’s the essence of your personality and your beliefs, it’s also a way to stay close to your roots.

This notion was witnessed at the recently organized British Council PoliNations Pakistan costume show held at the Commune Artist Colony. PoliNations is part of the Pakistan-UK Season program launched earlier this year to mark Pakistan’s 75th birthday. The program showcases the cultural richness and contemporary creativity of both countries, facilitating professional collaboration for the cultural, creative and educational sectors, with a focus on a common future through the construction of lasting partnerships. It highlights difficult perceptions, especially among the younger generation in both countries.

PoliNations Pakistan Costume Show was a partnership between designers from Pakistan and the UK, with the aim of creating an artistic response to the themes of celebrating diversity and cross-pollinating culture, exploring the influence of travel along the silk road and the history of tea. Laila Jamil, British Council Pakistan Arts Director, shared her views on the event: “The British Council is very pleased to have enabled this cultural exchange program between British and Pakistani artists. It’s exciting to have collaborative projects for fashion and music as part of the Pakistan-UK season. This is a great program for learning and future collaboration in the arts. »

A cultural exchange of fashion and music

Created and produced by Trigger Collective, PoliNations is part of the UK-wide UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK programme. This project will culminate in September during the Birmingham 2022 festival which will present multiple art forms. The festival will celebrate the beauty, color and diversity that make up British horticulture and culture. Up and coming artists from Birmingham and beyond will perform at the festival. Just like the UK, Pakistan is a diverse country with diverse languages, cultures, customs which are also evident in our art forms be it music or fashion.

As part of the festival, costume designer Joey A Frenette traveled to Pakistan to collaborate with renowned Pakistani designers Yousuf Bashir Qureshi and Riffat Aliani during a residency in Karachi to design and create costumes influenced by the journey of the tea, for special performances in Birmingham. . The designs were created in collaboration with the Yousuf Bashir Qureshi Studios Institute and were showcased during the PoliNations Pakistan Costume Show.

After this event, the costumes will be transported to Birmingham to be spectacularly presented by renowned dancers for a special series of performances at the festival.

“This is a collaborative project as part of the PoliNations festival which will end in the UK. As part of this project, designers from both countries worked together to create costumes for Birmingham festival performers, bringing the two countries and nations together,” commented Yousuf Bashir Qureshi.

The dresses shown at the costume show were intricate, fashionable and closer to Pakistani roots. Following the tea and garden theme, the color palette chosen for the costumes was pastel. Light green and peach dresses with a touch of garden print or plain with fancy buttons enhance the simplicity and elegance of the dresses. Even though it was a collaboration between the two countries, the designs were very traditional, reinforcing the cultural ethos of Pakistan. Long kurtas, angarkha style kameez and peshwa style dresses all looked very conventional and ethnic. It will be an honor to have our traditional dresses displayed in the UK during the festival which will be attended by people from different art forms from across the country.

A cultural exchange of fashion and music

Angie Bual, Creative Director of PoliNations and Artistic Director of Trigger, said, “We are thrilled with the creative opportunity and collaboration this partnership provides. Exploring, celebrating and learning from the diversity and creativity of our cultures is at the heart of what PoliNations is about – so being part of this season and collaborating with such talented Pakistan-based creatives across the program is a truly exciting opportunity. for us.

Pakistani designer Riffat Aliani opined that it was a great exercise in building bridges between the two countries. Joey Frenette has been here for a while now and it has been a pleasure working alongside him, exploring from his exhibition and working collaboratively for costumes to feature in the UK.

The event ended with a moving musical performance by distinguished sitar player Rakae Jamil, who wrote and recorded two new compositions addressing the themes surrounding tea and tulip. The audience sat on the floor just in front of the stage to listen to the beautiful renditions of different raags and were mesmerized by the beauty of the instrument.